“Tiene un dia? Involucrate! “ is a project that AEGEE-Las Palmas started few months ago. The antenna from the Canary Islands decided to set one day a month when they would be collaborating with one local association, in order to raise awareness of our members about different realities.
It was a sunny day in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. A beautiful day, which started as usual for
AEGEE members, but for few other youngsters, this day was everything but usual.
Involving the invincible
Who are they? Well, they are the ones, we often forget ! The ones, we do not want to see because it disturbs us: disabled children. For one day, AEGEE-Las Palmas took the challenge to collaborate with a local association called APAELP (Association of families of people with disabilities), and to include those youngsters in normal activities that we do. It was a success!
For Gulay, European Voluntary Service volunteer in AEGEE-Las Palmas, being with them for a whole day was quite a new experience that pushed her to realise that in their daily lives, those youngsters face many
challenges just to be able to get the same rights and opportunities that others are enjoying. This
situation is the result of a lack of understanding of disability problems in our society in general
and a lack of opportunities for disabled children to speak about things that matter to
Through this day and these activities, AEGEE-Las Palmas wished to collaborate for a better
participation and integration of young people with disabilities in the society.
In the morning, AEGEE-Las Palmas’ members were ready, waiting impatiently for their arrival.
Warmth and happiness that those youngsters were sharing with the AEGEE representatives were striking. Actually, during the exchange day, what was the most present, was the body language, hugs,
smiles, gestures: they do not talk a lot, but one can feel that their souls were smiling.
During the day, bridges were crossed with them through games and creative activities. We played around six games with everything from ice breaking games, to water-polo, from biking to dancing.
Lesson for life
Somehow, they made AEGEE-Las-Palmas members understand that they want to have more control over their lives – to be able to choose what to do, how to do it and just like all children, disabled children have the right to have their views, wishes and feelings. However, in practice organisers of this association explained that they are fighting for their children’s voice to be one more youth voice, and not to be ignored. They eager to have their needs to be fulfilled. All children can communicate. Some do not use speech but can express their wishes, hopes and feelings through other means. They need support to express their wishes and feelings. They should be empowered to have a stronger voice in order to get the same opportunities, to understand and to be understood.
This activity was a first step in this direction, since AEGEE-Las Palmas is one of the few
associations which actually made this “first step” and wanted to make activities with them (it is
usually the other way round). This first day was a pleasant surprise, and made AEGEE-Las-Palmas’ members realise how important it is to continue collaborating with associations of minorities, because they have a lot to give, and a lot to say!
Written by Lucille Rieux, AEGEE-Toulousse